Wirbisky SE, Weber GJ, Schlotman KE, Sepúlveda MS, Freeman JL. 2016. Embryonic atrazine exposure alters zebrafish and human miRNAs associated with angiogenesis, cancer, and neurodevelopment. Food Chem Toxicol 98:25–33.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short, single-stranded RNA that regulate post-transcriptional control of mRNA translation. Knowledge on the role of these critical regulators in toxicological responses in increasing, but is still limited. Atrazine is a herbicide used throughout the Midwestern US that is reported to frequently contaminate potable water supplies above the maximum contaminant level of 3 parts per billion. Atrazine is a suspected endocrine disrupting chemical and studies have begun to investigate the genetic mechanisms of toxicity; however, studies investigating epigenetic mechanisms are limited. In this study both zebrafish and human miRNAs were significantly altered in response to an embryonic atrazine exposure of 0.3, 3, or 30 ppb in zebrafish. Altered miRNAs are known to play a role in angiogenesis, cancer, or neuronal development, differentiation, and maturation. Targeted analysis of altered human miRNAs with genes previously identified to be altered by atrazine exposure revealed several targets linked to cell cycle and cell signaling. Further analysis of hsa-miRNA-126-3p, which had altered expression in all three atrazine treatments at 72 hpf, revealed alterations also occurred at 60 hpf in the 30 ppb treatment group. Results from this study indicate miRNA deregulation in zebrafish and human miRNAs following an embryonic atrazine exposure in zebrafish.